Moving houses is never an easy task, but interstate moves have a whole other level of stress that they bring your way. And of all the things you’ll worry about, costs will be right at the top. Thankfully, there’s loads of ways you can cut down on costs for an interstate move, one of which is shipping your boxes across yourself.
Normally, you’d hire a moving company to look after the shipment process, but this can be fairly expensive. Whether you’re moving into a dorm with only a few boxes, sending boxes of things to a distant relative or simply looking for cheap alternatives, here’s all the cheapest ways to ship boxes to another state.
Things To Consider When Shipping Boxes To Another State
While these sure are some of the cheapest ways you can ship boxes over state borders, they may not work out for you. There are a couple things you need to consider before choosing a service that helps you ship your boxes:
How fast do you need your boxes to be shipped? While some of these services can ship your boxes within 2 days, others can take up to 14 business days. Generally, the faster you need it delivered, the more you have to pay.
A feeling that may get all too familiar is finding the best shipping option, only to realize that you’ll need to pay a lot more for them to ship your boxes or that they don’t service your area or destination. Most shipping carriers have 8 shipping zones across the US. The farther away your destination is from the shipping zone, the more you’ll have to pay.
3. Volume And Dimension
Your costs will differ depending on the size and weight of your shipment, and in some cases, you may be turned away. Finalizing just what you need to ship and checking with the company before you pack and seal your boxes is extremely important.
Cheapest Ways To Ship Boxes
|Company/ Service||Amtrak Express Shipping||UShip||Busfreighter||Freight Shipping|
|Pros||Fast delivery, good insurance options, cheap rates, can ship bicycles.||No limit on size and content of shipment, verified vendor system, insurance options.||No limit on the number of boxes, bulk discounts, shipment tracking and coverage available.||No weight or size restrictions, can bargain for lower rates, can ship individual large pieces of furniture.|
|Cons||Size and content limitations, limited service areas, self drop-off and pickup.||No guarantee on getting a bid, vendors may not be professional.||No electronics or fragile items, no furniture, restrictions on the size of boxes.||Requires effort and time, no fixed rates to go on.|
Amtrak Express Shipping
This may come as a surprise, but you can actually make use of the ever-reliable Amtrak to ship your boxes from one state to another. Amtrak offers their Express Shipping service between over 100 cities across America. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind when planning to ship boxes with Amtrak.
- Plastic boxes or containers aren’t allowed, and won’t be shipped. Ensure your boxes are the standard cardboard moving boxes. These are more susceptible to damage from the elements, so make sure you wrap the entire box in plastic wrap or saran wrap before shipping them.
- Make sure you get the right sized boxes. Boxes that are any bigger than 3ft x 3ft x 3ft can’t be shipped with Amtrak.
- Call ahead and make sure they can handle bigger-sized boxes if you have any.
- The boxes need to weigh under 50 lbs each, and your total weight of the shipment can’t go over 500 lbs i.e. you can’t transport over 500 lbs in one day. A recommendation for people with many boxes is to cluster them all into groups, each group not weighing over 500 lbs. You can then spread out shipments over multiple days.
- Number each box, and create a guide for yourself that has the number and the contents of each box. This helps you keep track of the boxes, especially when unloading and opening them.
Also Read: Top 5 Plastic Boxes Moving Companies
- You can’t ship any electronics or fragile items with Amtrak, so make sure you pack those into separate boxes. You can ship electronics with a moving company (several have cheap options for a few items only) or one of the options given below, while fragile-only moving services are ideal to make sure your fragile items make the journey in one piece.
- Place the contents of the boxes into sealable bags before packing them into the boxes. Or, wrap everything around once with saran wrap or plastic wrap.
- Place a piece of paper with your name, address, and telephone number on the inside of the box, right on top, before you close and seal it. Ensure you put the right address and phone number, whether it’s of your current address or your new home.
You can also ship bicycles with Amtrak Express Shipping, as long as they’re securely packed in a box. If you don’t have a box of your own, call ahead and check to see if there’s boxes available at the station that you can use.
Do note that Amtrak Express Shipping doesn’t have any pickup or delivery services and you’ll have to manage this yourself. The good thing is that you get 2 entire days to pick your boxes up once they arrive at their destination stop.
Shipping with Amtrak Express will cost you around $40 to $80 for the first 100 lbs, and then $.40 to $.80 for each additional pound. You can call 1-800-377-6914 (8 am – 8 pm ET, Monday through Friday) for any additional questions and doubts you may have.
A relatively new player, UShip is a marketplace that connects people who need to ship things with the vast network of trucking companies. The trucking industry is huge, worth nearly $700 billion in the US, and comprises thousands of independent truckers and haulers. UShip helps you get in touch with any of these truckers who may just have the space on their rig to transport your boxes, and who’s heading in the same direction of your shipment’s destination.
UShip has a move board on which you can post your move and its details. Details include what you need to move, how much you need to move and where you need to ship it to. Truckers will view your post and bid in the job. This way, the truckers can make a bit of extra money at not much of an additional effort on their part, and you can rest assured that your boxes will reach their destination. There are over 40,000 truckers registered on UShip, so there’s a fairly high chance you’ll find someone willing to help you out.
The good news is that there are no limitations on what you want to ship, or how big your shipment is. Of course, what you pay depends on the bid you get; usually, shipping to places that are more familiar and that get more traffic is cheaper than shipping to obscure places in the middle of nowhere. UShip has trucker reviews and a verified vendor system, but of course, the responsibility to pick a good vendor rests on you, so do your research as thoroughly as possible.
Also See: uShip Review
You’ve probably heard of Greyhound Package Express, a service that uses their Greyhound buses to ship personal packages. Now, make way for Busfreighter: a partner of Greyhound, it’s ‘the more the merrier’ when shipping with Busfreighter. That’s because there’s no cap on the number of boxes you can ship with Busfreighter, and you get discount bulk prices if you have 4 or more boxes to ship.
Using Busfreighter is fairly basic; simply pack up your boxes and drop them off at one of Greyhound’s terminals. Or, ask for Busfreighter’s pick-up services that charge around $45 for 5 boxes. Your shipment should reach its destination within 3 to 14 business days. Long distance and cross-country shipments take between 10 to 14 business days, while those that travel within 2,000 miles take 3 to 7 business days. However, these can vary. You can either visit the Greyhound terminal to collect them yourself or pay to have them delivered to your home.
Things To Know:
- Make sure that your shipment meets their requirements: 100 lbs is the maximum weight allowed per piece, and the maximum dimension is 29″x47″x82″; anything bigger simply won’t fit.
- Avoid shipping things like fragile items and specialty items, as well as electronics. Electronics are generally not accepted, and if they are, they may not be eligible for damage coverage.
In terms of differences between Busfreighter and Greyhound, Busfreighter ships bulk orders for 70 cents per pound, while Greyhound costs around $1.19 per pound, nearly double the amount. Comparing Busfreighter to Amtrak and FedEx, these are the approximate prices to ship around 5 large boxes over 2,800 miles:
Shipping Via Freight
If you’re the type who doesn’t mind breaking a sweat and is good at haggling your way out of high costs, freight shipment is the choice for you. Shipping via freight has you putting all your boxes on a pallet, and having the service load it up and deliver it to your new home for you.
Of course, this takes some effort. Once you’ve successfully and securely packed your boxes, place them all on a wood pallet. Grab saran wrap and wrap everything, including the pallet. Your boxes should be shrink wrapped to the pallet by the time you’re done; this helps keep everything securely in place.
Make sure you’re doing all this work from your garage or any other place that makes it easy to move everything out once you’re done; you don’t want to realize you have a problem on your hands when there’s a heavy loaded pallet sitting in your living room!
In the meantime, call up freight companies and start to get rates from them. You’ll also need to know what freight class your boxes fall into; generally, household goods packed into boxes are freight class 150. This is also when you put on your haggling hat and bargain for the best price. Depending on the details, you should be able to settle on a few hundred dollars to ship one pallet. Also make sure you ask the company about the equipment to load the pallet; you’ll likely have to pay a small fee so they can bring equipment like a liftgate and a pallet jack.
There’s a range of pallet sizes available, plus you can easily pile up boxes one on top of the other. But in case you happen to have a large piece of furniture as well, then freight shipping is perfect for you. You’ll have to pay anywhere between $200 and $550, but remember, you have room to haggle, so use it.
Shipping Large Boxes
When shipping large boxes, you’d ideally want to go with a service that only prices by weight and not dimensions. This is where the USPS can help you; while shipping with the USPS can actually be on the pricier side, it becomes beneficial when shipping large boxes.You can pay the flat rate if you happen to have a package that fits into a flat rate box weighing 70 lbs or less. But make sure you don’t go over 70lbs, as that’s the maximum weight limit.
You can always make use of the USPS website to try and figure out how much you’ll need to pay, depending on a range of factors.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Box To Another State?
This would depend entirely on how big and heavy the box is, and how you choose to ship it to another state. As an estimate, you could pay between $1.50 and $2.50 per mile when shipping with a moving company, marketplace truckers or shipping service.
What Is The Least Expensive Way To Ship Boxes?
While there’s loads of ways to go about shipping your boxes, some of the most affordable options are to use USPS, Amtrak Express Shipping, UShip’s marketplace service, and Busfreighter.
How Can I Ship A Large Box To Another State?
Opt to use the services of the USPS when looking at shipping a large box into another state. However, the box can’t be bigger than 108” and heavier than 70 lbs.
What Is The Cheapest Way To Ship A 20 Pound Box?
USPS Priority Mail or Busfrieghter are two of your cheapest options to ship a 20 pound box.
If you’re looking into shipping boxes because of a move, you might also want to check out moving companies. Several moving companies handle small, one-room moves for low rates, so explore all your options before finalizing with a company or service. You can also look into DIY moves if the distance you’re traveling isn’t too far. Go through our website on more blogs on saving up money for a move.
Also Read: Best Out of State Moving Companies in the US